On Earth Day 2019 Protect Our Wild Horses and Burros
by Carol Walker, Director of Field Documentation, Wild Horse Freedom Federation
On Earth Day 2019 the theme is Protect Our Species, https://www.earthday.org/campaigns/endangered-species/earthday2019/ and I find that is appropriate given the challenges that wild horses and burros in America are facing today. Most of the wild horses and burros live in 10 western states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming. Six states have already lost their entire wild horse populations.
Wild horses and burros are outnumbered by 8 to 1 on Bureau of Land Management managed public lands by livestock, even as the 1971 Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act designated them as the “principle species” where they were found.
Despite their numbers being so much smaller than the livestock, wild horses and burros are often blamed for everything from range degradation to the declining sage grouse population. The BLM rounds up thousands of wild horses and burros every year using helicopters and removes them from their homes, their families and their freedom. They have announced plans to use cruel sterilization experiments on wild mares, and those plans have been stopped for now by lawsuits but the BLM is planning more of these dangerous experiments designed to ultimately zero out entire herds.
Over 45,000 wild horses and burros are held in “Off Range Corrals” that are dirt pens with no shade or shelter and “Off Range Pastures” at great taxpayer expense. In 2018 the BLM started selling up to 24 older horses per day to individuals with no limitations, no questions asked. This was permission pure and simple to buy wild horses by the truckload and sell them to slaughter. Although the BLM has stopped doing this, they now have another very dangerous policy which pays an individual an “incentive” of $1000 to take a wild horse or burro, leaving them without protection from sale to slaughter. Wild Horses and burros are being shipped overseas as well, and they lose their protected status as soon as they leave this country.
Given these challenges, some of the things that people who care about our wild horses and burros can do is sign up for news and alerts which will tell when to make phone calls, send comment, and donate to lawsuits to protect them.
Sign up for Wild Horse Freedom Federation’s News and Alerts and Blog here: http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/
Calling your Senators and Representatives is always helpful. Tell them you want our wild horses and burros protected on our public lands and that you do not support cruel sterilization experiments. You want them humanely managed on our public lands, not rounded up and removed from their homes and warehoused in holding facilities. You want grazing leases retired from public lands, and the wild horses and burros managed as the principle species where they are found. You want the 45,000 wild horses and burros that are held in captivity released into the 22 million acres that has been taken from them since 1971, and allowed to live out their lives in freedom.
- U.S. House of Representatives: * Telephone: 202-225-3121.
- Website: http://www.house.gov/
- U.S. Senate: * Telephone: 202-224-3121.
- Website: http://www.senate.gov/
To find out more about Wild Horse Freedom Federation or to make a donation, go to our website: http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/
Our precious wild horses and burros deserve to live out their lives in freedom in their homes, with their families, on the lands that are their home. They belong to all of us who live in this country, and they are part of the wildness that inspires our lives.
Categories: Wild Burros, Wild Horses/Mustangs
“Wild horses and burros are outnumbered by 8 to 1 on Bureau of Land Management managed public lands by livestock, even as the 1971 Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act designated them as the “principle species” where they were found.” [spelling should be “principal to be accurately quoted, here’s the precise language:” (c) “range” means the amount of land necessary to sustain an existing herd or herds of wild free-roaming horses and burros, which does not exceed their known territorial limits, and which is devoted principally but not necessarily exclusively to their welfare in keeping with the multiple-use management concept for the public lands…: https://www.blm.gov/programs/wild-horse-and-burro/about-the-program/program-history%5D.
Do you have a source for the 8 to 1 figure? The most recent I have is from 2018, which shows just under 2 million cattle to just over 80,000 WHBs, or a ratio of 28 cattle to 1 wild horse/burro. It’s not clear if these numbers also include the thousands of sheep grazing our public lands.
On a happier Earth Day note, here’s a link to an article that mentions finding a dozen horse species fossils, in what is nowTEXAS, which is one of our states with no federally protected wild horses at all. There’s something wrong with our country’s actual “principles” when we so highly value fossil fuels but not any of the species whose remains created them, nor their descendants.